I gave a son a haircut.

I harvested lettuce and Meyer lemons from the garden. I’m very glad I took a chance and grew some lettuce in some pots this year.

I sowed seeds in empty plastic pots from the nursery for zinnias, hollyhocks, and chives. I didn’t use any special seed-starting soil; I just used the garden soil that we have been buying in bulk. The pots are outside. These will all be transplanted into the garden once we can plant, which isn’t far from now! We are currently waiting to hear from our concrete guy to see when he can fit us in his schedule! We have several things we can work on in the meantime.

We were able to borrow the tractor we borrowed previously, saving over $1000 in rental fees over renting a backhoe.

The Alnwick Rose just before opening

I saved a $35 delivery fee by choosing local stores to pick up some pots for the garden rather than having them shipped. I combined trips to save gas on each of the trips.

I used a $10 off coupon from Ikea towards the purchase of tables and chairs for the garden. We ended up buying different ones than we had planned, but they are similar. I already used them to enjoy a few moments just sitting in the garden.

The grocery store was clearing out turkeys from Easter. I don’t know anyone who has turkey for Easter, yet the stores here often have them on sale along with hams. They had quite a few on sale for $0.69 a pound, and they were all larger than 20 pounds. This is a better price than I saw at Thanksgiving. I bought four turkeys at that price and will cook them this week (and freeze most of the cooked meat). I’ll use the meat in many recipes, including enchiladas, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and soups.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This week we decided to make a chicken run- a large open area that we would fence to give our chickens a nice outside exercise area without allowing them access to the whole side yard with all the berries and container gardens that they love to nibble on and dig up! So that’s what we did! Recycled 4 x 4’s stored in the basement to go around the outside perimeter for extra stability! https://pin.it/6Bg9IQm.

    Planted my carrots in a bucket! They had all germinated in their little “greenhouse” (a deli-meat plastic container with wet paper towel in it and lid kept closed for 5 days)! My rhubarb has come back with leaves even though my chickens had eaten it down to nothing above ground and dug/thrown the dirt around it all over the ground! (Another reason for prison/chicken exercise yard that restricts their wandering all over our yard!😉)
    I planted the extra strawberry runners that I had overwintered and now have 6 large container beds of strawberries that are even starting to flower!! ❤️❤️

    As I cleared a few more areas in my raised bed veg garden, I found 10 volunteer lettuce plants! So I carefully transplanted them to the bed with the volunteer Swiss Chard! https://pin.it/5apQYqT. I also started repotting blackberry cutting that rooted in sand over the winter! Not all took, but about 25% did so I consider that a success since it was my first attempt!! https://pin.it/4kpjqU7. I have some more that I’m going to try this week!

    I got an ibotta rebate of $34 for doing my taxes with TurboTax! It was a one day rebate and amazingly, I happened to see it at the right time!

    We got our $57 State tax refund this week. We elected to have our $973 federal tax payment deducted from our account in May. I’m hoping that we won’t need to take money from our savings account to cover it. Our electric bill was $57 less this month because of a combination of new windows and better weather. As a result of using the insurance trackers in our 2 cars for 90 days, our car insurance rate is going down by $60!! So glad we researched about switching car insurance from where it has been for years! The new company also told us that if we waited until July to switch our homeowner’s insurance over to them that the one and only claim we ever had would drop off because it would be 5 years previous. Switching before that wouldn’t be much of a discount, but by waiting until then to bundle it with our car insurance would make a substantial difference (almost $1000/year)!! If we made the switch before that, the higher rate would be locked in for a year! We were so grateful that the agent explained that to us!!

    Hubs has now had cataract surgery in both eyes. The recovery and results have been incredibly good! And Medicare and our supplement paid for all of it in full! We feel so blessed!

    I made teriyaki chicken in my Instant Pot using cooked chunks of Thanksgiving Turkey from the freezer, DIY homemade and home canned teriyaki sauce, and stir fry veg from freezer, rice from food storage! https://pin.it/6eUbEVi. It took 8 minutes and was amazing! I put it into the “Tried and True Instant Pot” Pinterest Board that my daughters and I share! Whenever one of us makes a new IP recipe that our family likes, we move it on to that board for all of us to know that it’s been “Lewis family approved”! Makes it easier when we want to try out a new recipe for our own family to know that it went over well with one of the others!

    Because of a couple bigger purchases (that we will pay off when the statement comes due, I was able to redeem another $20 in CC rewards to our savings account! Because we always pay off statement balance each month, the rewards that get added to our savings account really make it worthwhile!

    I found some new free quilting designs available for DIY printing to add to our business website! 3 more edge to edge pantographs and 4 custom block quilting patterns! That is approximately $75+ savings! I was also able to buy 4 rolls of 80/20 Hobbs batting using coupons for 60% off! It was the price I always wait for and only happens about once a year! So I am now set for batting!! That saved me $468!!
    So, it’s been a really good week! I know that amidst all the worrisome times, if we keep our focus on all those good and uplifting things and ways that we can make positive changes that we will find peace and joy!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Gardenpat, may I ask what credit card you use for rewards? And, loved your chicken prison story. Have you heard of chickenmobiles? They’re basically movable fence so they can be rotated around a landscape. This allows the chickens to eat a wider swath of bugs, and spreads their manure around without effort.

      1. Viola- We use our Fifth Third MasterCard since they are our Primary bank for savings and checking accounts. That way, they give us rewards options of gift cards OR redeeming points in $10 increments into one of our 5/3 checking or savings accounts instantly! Hubs just had some dental work – crowns,etc. and so we paid for it using that MasterCard. Over the course of 6 weeks it was about $3000, so that really added a nice bit to our savings account using the rewards!
        We’ve considered chicken tractors, but our yard space is taken up with our fruit trees, the gazebo and BBQ, fire pit and huge lilac bushes, so there really isn’t a space that is open enough to put one that all 8 chickens could have space in. The exercise yard we just made was the only open space large enough to give them moving around room. Plus we are going to build a compost ring for them so that they can eat the plant scraps and dig around in, like the one shown in SelfSufficientMe YouTube videos!

        1. Your “prison/chicken exercise yard” made me laugh. I think you need to put that on a sign for the enclosure! haha

      2. Where I live, we call them chicken tractors. They work well on flat land (which we do not have) and with a smaller number of chickens(we have too many now.) But, we use them with our young chickens before they are old enough to be with the larger flock. They work great!

    2. Thank you so much Gardenpat for mentioning a couple of weeks ago about the YouTube video of the Scottish man showing how to jump start carrot seed germination. I did this successfully so far with: cauliflower, peas, and yellow pear tomatoes. Still waiting on parsley, jalapenos, and red cherry tomatoes. I had put the red cherry tomatoes in a plastic container which has a red top. I think this is why they haven’t germinated yet but the yellow ones have. I’ve switched them over to a clear topped container.

      1. Libby- Glad to hear you’ve been using that fast start seed germination! For my carrot seeds, I used an Oscar Mayer deli meat container with a clear blue lid. Every single seed germinated! So I went to the other website he suggested and printed off the spacing templates for both the 10” and 12” diameter buckets! Worked like a charm!!
        Keep us posted on how your veggies do this summer!

  2. Now that spring is here, there is so much to do! All of my vegetable starts have germinated and I am thrilled to see them growing so well. We still have a long way to go to planting outside and my husband is soon going to get the compost worked into the soil and the chicken wire up around the garden to keep the critters out. I am really hoping for a good harvest this year and lots to can and freeze.

    I trimmed my son’s hair and my husband shaved his own hair. As our hairdresser has really put up the cost of haircuts recently, this really saves us a great deal. I assessed our wardrobes and, because we have received so many clothes through our local buy nothing group, we are all caught up with clothing that will carry us into the future. Other than having to drive locally, this cost us nothing.

    I was also gifted several food items from the buy nothing group that will be used in the future. My mom has also gifted us several food items that she bought on sale at the store she shops at. I have been grocery shopping minimally and really trying only to buy items on sale or on the clearance racks.

    We are planning for the future at the moment. We are not certain my husband will be able to go back to work at the university. They have done a poor job of containing Covid and currently have 14 active outbreaks. We don’t feel it is going to be safe even into the future. If he is not able to return, we will have to live off the disability payment my son will receive. It will require us to budget very closely and that is what we are currently working on. I will be reading this blog and the comments even more closely for any ideas I can get!

    I hope everyone has a lovely week!

  3. I bought a lot of seeds. It was buy 5 packages save $5.oo and free shipping. I bought 3 sets of five saving $15.00 plus shipping.
    I bought 5 pkgs. of batting at 40% off. I also got free shipping on these. They will be coming by FedEx. They have been travelling around Texas for the last week. Thank goodness I don’t need them fast.
    I’m still going through tubs and tubs of things. This is so freeing.
    With groceries going up and up I am looking for less expensive, yet still healthy and yummy, meals. I would gladly take suggestions. I’ve gleaned what I can from Brandy’s list of meals.
    All bills paid on time. I hate paying late charges. I did it for too many years because my money was so short.
    I’m still reading free books.
    I just got some audible books for free. I listen while I sew by hand.
    I ordered my $25.oo of over the counter drugs (and other health items) for the month. This is my free amount every month. I get basic items that we can all use like toothpaste and brushes, but also other meds for flu and colds.
    Not much excitement here this week. Not much savings, but not much spending either.

    1. Lots of vegetable soups! Whatever vegetables you have on hand! Chicken bouillon powder is less expensive than chicken broth.

      1. Brandy, I make broth from every chicken I make. My husband, daughter, her kids and I can bake or boil a large chicken and eat 3 meals from it and then make broth from the bones.
        I use chicken bouillon for soups and when I make pinto beans.
        I have used both broth and the bouillon powder over the years and never considered price. I will be buying the powder from now on.
        Thank you.
        We love soups and will be eating more of them.

        1. I find that I often need more broth than I can make from chickens and turkeys for our family. The bullion is helpful, especially when one is living on what she has stored for months at a time

        2. Also, save vegetable scraps (carrots, celery onion, etc) and freeze in a bag. Put these scraps in when you make your chicken/beef broth to flavor it.

      2. I am gluten free so I want to caution anyone with an allergy to look at the cubes and powder. The ones I used to buy from Sam’s had gluten.

      3. Hello Brandy!
        Just wanted to throw out the idea, if you don’t do it already, to save the carcass from your turkeys for turkey stock! I freeze the bones and then usually use half a carcass at a time in my instant pot (I have a large 8qt model) and make stock. It’s super easy and virtually free. I use my pressure canner to can the stock for use later, but you could also just freeze it. Economical, super easy in the Instant Pot, and delicious!

    2. One of my Mum’s favourite filling and economical meals for our family of 7 was fried eggs, canned baked beans purchased on sale and homemade fries( you could sub in hashbrowns or homefries)-we kids loved it and it was quick for her to make after work. I think it was reasonably nutritious.

      DH and I went to Costco this morning-gas is 7 cents per litre less there so we fill up. Bought him a pair of the Kirkland jeans for 17.99-a size smaller than usual. He has lost weight in preparation for a hip replacement that we hope will be this summer-although Covid has already cancelled surgeries once and is currently slowing them down as our ICU’s fill up-he has been waiting almost 2 years. I bought a new Tshirt for 7.99 which is similar to one of my old favourites that I wore out.

    3. I save up and buy in bulk. Lots of soup like Brandy mentioned and rice dishes. I often make pot pies and such with less/little meat and more bullion flavoring and dehydrated veggies. Every little bit of food is used…even if I’m really tired of eating it! You can see many ideas and hints on instagram. My little, hopefully helpful, account is savingfoodforeating.

    4. Spaghetti noodles with steamed/sauteed vegetables and a peanut butter/soy sauce/plain tea sauce. Recipes available online.

      I used to make homemade baked potato skins to fill up my athlete teenage son. I would bake an entire 5 lb bag of potatoes, let them cool, cut in half and scoop out insides leaving a 1/2″ edge, rub oil on the insides and bake a second time. About 10-15 minutes before they are finished I would add whatever I had on hand – typically some combo of these: grated cheese, green onions, sour cream, cooked bacon, diced ham, sauteed spinach, caramelized onions, etc. The scooped out insides I made into mashed potatoes for a different day – much drier than boiled potatoes but still good.

      Kudos to you Becky for paying all your bills on time!

  4. Mom’s strong enough now to walk a bit. I am so impressed with her determination. We haven’t been cleared by her PT to get her in and out of the car yet so we are homebound except for the rare times when we get a grannysitter. Saturday was the first time in four weeks for that–when I went for my second Moderna shot. We now are both doubly vaccinated so we’ll soon be able to have a handyman in the house to fix some things–in less than two more weeks. What a relief even if we are here in Michigan shaking our heads at the current infection rates. Instacart just expanded their delivery services for us to include Aldi and Meijer. Aldi is 18 miles away so I was NOT expecting to be able to shop there from home. Happy dance time. Now to break my Doordash habit and our grocery bill should soon be a fraction of what it has been in recent months. A very good thing. Mom’s car is over 20 years old and soon will have over 200,000 miles. I have been stalling about shopping for a new-for-us car (half as many miles and years) because I was dreading testing vehicles to see if mom could get into and out of them. Today, I realised that while her current car’s model cannot be exactly replaced, Chrysler made a very similar sedan for many years. So if we get a sedan, we probably should focus on that one. And, once the most recent pandemic surge has ebbed, I ask friends who have minivans to stop by and let us test getting mom into their front seats. So we’ll be able to know if we HAVE to stick with a sedan or if a used minivan is an option. Mom and I will be able to avoid the hassle of trying to get her into various vehicles at the used car dealerships.
    I cut a bouquet of daffodils from the yard and it graced our coffee table for a week. Mom’s grannysitter cut herself a bunch too. She also surprised us with a jar of rhubarb sauce made from last year’s harvest that I added to a spice cake mix along with walnuts. Yum. My strawberry jar is full of plants the neighbor fostered since last summer after they arrived when mom was very ill in the hospital. It will need to move into the house until Thursday. I was able to add four live herb plants to my first Meijer delivery which I intend to re-pot today. And two rosemary plants will be shipped by Walmart in early May. I intend to start many other herb plants from seed samplers I bought last year.

    1. Holly, As my Mom aged, she had to use a walker for lots of years and then exclusively had to use a Jazzy chair. She found it much easier to get into a minivan because she could basically slide in and she didn’t have to bend down.

      Also, I always read and have learned a great deal from this website. A few weeks ago my husband was laid off along with 40 of his co-workers. He had worked with this company for 25 years and had 5 more years before he was going to retire. We were both very stunned. A lot of his co-workers that were laid off also had been there a long time.

      We are looking at every penny. Our food is tricky. I have celiac and have been gluten-free and dairy-free for almost 35 years. I’ve also learned that if I don’t eat organic I have a ton of gut pain. This past year I’ve preserved more food that I ever have. I was worried about shortages where what I eat is tricky. I use many of the strategies you all use and I’ve upped them. I turned out heat down to 60, flushed the toilet with bath water, etc. We are still trying to get everything in place with insurance, etc.

      Thanks for everyone’s comments here. I learn a great deal.

      1. Judy: So very sorry to hear of the lay-offs! This kind of shock takes time and grieving to absorb.
        Hoping insurance, unemployment, and so forth will fall into place quickly for you as you determine your next steps.
        (As a side note, when my husband and my employer closed abruptly, we thought COBRA insurance was the best way to go. It was not: our state’s health care marketplace was much less expensive, and losing employment is a special circumstance for enrolling if there isn’t an open enrollment period).

        1. Same for us-the healthcare marketplace was much cheaper than COBRA when my husband was laid off last year. It is available any time there is a job loss.

      2. If you are in the US make sure they take taxes out of the unemployment or you will get hit with high tax bill next year. I know a few that had to be THOUSANDS of dollars due to that this year even with the $10,000 plus break.

      3. Dear Judy,
        I admire you and your husband’s courage in the face of this sudden change. I’m so sorry this happened, and I wish you well as you sort out the challenges.

    2. As someone who is disabled, I want to commend you on figuring out a way to let your mom try to get into various vehicles at home, rather than at the dealership. I know intellectually that I have nothing to be embarrassed about, but situations like publicly having to show how I struggle sometimes are humiliating and depressing. You are very thoughtful.

  5. There’s an Alnwick rose! I didn’t know that! I’ve been to Alnwick! We went there on a road trip through the Yorkshire Dales and up to Edinburgh for the Military Tattoo. This was in 1998 and our first trip to Europe. We traveled with my UK penpal (since 1958) and her husband, and we had a blast! In Alnwick, we ate fish’n’chips outside along the seawall, then wandered over to a nearby bookshop. I had been complaining that what I REALLY needed was in English gardener and my friend found a copy of Gardening Through the Year by Peter McHoy. My go-to gardening book! It was only 7 pounds and probably the best 7 pounds I’ve ever spent on my garden. Almost as good as an English gardener!

    The Quidditch (flying game) scenes in the first Harry Potter movie were filmed at Alnwick Castle. OK, I’m done with Alnwick. Back home in good ol’ Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, this is how I saved money last week–
    * I ordered a summer jacket from Old Navy dot com for $60. There was a promo code that would have saved $12, however I clicked on Honey and their promo code saved $18 = $42. When I paid, I was too lazy to walk across the room for my CC, so I paid with Paypal. Turns out I had $17 credit from an eBay sale = so $25 OOP. The only thing I forgot was to order through the airline’s e-shopping portal. This would have given me 2 miles per $, but more importantly, kept my account active so that I won’t lose miles. (I need to put a sticky note on my computer to remind me).
    * I ordered “free” OTC meds through our 3 Medicare Advantage plans. I put FREE in quotes because I pay for the insurance, and this is a benefit.

    * My daughter got her second dose of the Covid vaccine on Friday.

    * I am still putting away food brought home from the vacation home we are selling. This adds to the pantry, and using what you already have always saves grocery dollars.

    * We have been attending a large-ish church that has a coffee bar (proceeds donated to clean water projects in Africa). My husband and daughter love flavored coffees. While I was ordering, a woman came to the front of the line, plunked down a $20 bill to pay for our coffees and told the cashier to donate the rest.

    * A friend dug up a forsythia that wasn’t doing well for her and gave it to me. It is about the same size as a 5 gallon shrub. (That’s the problem…it was a 5 gallon shrub 6 years ago). I pruned off about a third of the growth and watered it in good to give it a better start.

  6. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your flower photos are superb. Great deal on the turkeys!
    This week I launched ‘Operation Smarten Up’. We are coming out of lockdown and I am returning to work part time for the summer term. I’ve spent lots of time in my old gardening/ dog walking clothes and I needed to pull myself together! I tried on all my day clothes, winter and summer and filled a bag for charity, one for fabric recycling and organised my wardrobe. I gave myself a manicure and pedicure and redeemed loyalty points to buy a tinted lip balm. I haven’t worn make up for months. I put a pair of Skechers shoes through the wash and they were fine. Over the last year several clothing shops have closed in our local town and the charity shops received some of their stock. I bought 4 brand new tops for £14.
    I enjoy books published by Persephone and found 2 in the charity shops for £1.99 each. They cost £13 new.
    My husband grew a David Austin rose from a cutting and planted it out this week. So many seeds have germinated we’re having to fill our conservatory as well as two greenhouses and a cold frame.
    I picked tulips for the house.
    Using fabric and ribbons I had I made 3 gift bags. I repurposed an unused tea towel to make a drawstring bag to hold the accessories for my food processor.
    A new series of Call the Midwife has started on the BBC and two further series have been commissioned.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Hi Penny
      Great find on those books, Persephone are amazing but so expensive! My seeds are all so slow to get going, both direct sown and in the house (no green house or cold frame alas), glad to hear that yours are doing better.

    2. I have a friend who has purchased me books from Persephone Books and I love them too. What a treat for you. And thanks for the heads up about new seasons of Call the Midwife. It’s one of my favorite shows ever

  7. *We bought mulch on sale.
    *We built a recycled trellis for my David Austin roses.
    *My husband and I received our second COVID vaccines.
    *I used my Rubbermaid produce containers to help my produce last longer in my fridge.
    *We read my daughter in law’s blog post as part of our History class in homeschool.
    *We went hiking and identified some of the wildflowers in the nearby woods where we hike.
    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/04/frugal-friday-week-of-april-11-17-2021.html
    Looking forward to seeing what everyone is up to!

  8. How exciting to be getting so close to being able to plant in your new garden! Last week, I grocery shopped on senior’s day, which took $6.54 off my bill. Dill, parsley and basil seeds were started, and swiss chard seeds planted in the garden. I fertilized the strawberries and asparagus, and have been harvesting asparagus, onions and parsley. Our stored sweet potatoes and a winter squash were baked, and a new recipe for Pumpkin Tomato bisque was tried, which we both enjoyed. When I lifted the compost bin lid, I found a rat snake in the compost. I’ve seen mice in there in the past, so I guess he/she is taking care of that! One neighbor came by, and gifted my husband a bag of apples. Earlier that day, another neighbor came by and offered him the use of his dump truck and skid steer to collect wood he’d cut in his pastures. In short order, he brought 5 dump truck loads of wood back, which he says is two years of firewood for us. They’re still trees, so he has his work cut out for him, with sawing and splitting, but what a blessing. The neighbor is delighted to have his pastures clear again, so win win. A free Kindle book was finished, and a book was purchased for .25 at a thrift store. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/04/pretty-petals-blessings.html

  9. The flowers are beautiful.
    I feel sure some people eat turkey at Easter, but like Brandy, I don’t know of any. Yet I always see turkeys on sale at Easter.

    We had a lot of rain this week and weekend. It means we couldn’t spray our plants with the foliar organic fertilizer, but that saves us a bit on the cost of fertilizer, I suppose. We’d been a little dry and the plants certainly seemed to have enjoyed that rainwater.

    I made a dish that called for parsley, chives and mint, all of which I grow in pots. Many herbs are so easy to grow, and so expensive in the store. Our stevia plant is big enough to trim again, and dry the leaves to use as sweetening later and the lemon grass is starting to grow up, after being cut back for winter.

    I juiced a few more lemons from our tree for lemonade.

    Our two olive trees have more blooms than ever, this year. Not all will produce olives, but I hope many of them will.

    I picked up and put back several items at the thrift stores. They were “wants,” not needs.

    I continue to use leftovers, freeze extra food, and avoid food waste.

    I’m really anticipating the great garden reveal!

  10. It must be exciting to see the continued progress in your garden. I can’t wait to see pictures of the completed project!

    The weather has warmed again in NYC. We’re supposed to have temperatures in the 70’s tomorrow. My starter tomatoes, lettuce, kale and mache have all taken off. I hope they stay healthy through transition outside to be planted.

    Thank you Ellie’s friend for the definitions and descriptions. I got back to read comments but I didn’t post again. Your garden project intrigues me and I enjoy reading about it!

    Congratulations to Margaret on the birth of your new daughter! Congratulations to Sarah B. on the birth of your new son! Such exciting news for both of you and your families!

    I watched “New Tricks” on Amazon Prime Video. A cold case unit in the Metropolitan Police is staffed by retired detectives. It’s funny and quirky but the best is seeing older workers successfully solving crimes. There seem to be additional seasons available which is always a bonus when I find a series I like.

    I reserved The Women of Chateau Lafayette from the library. Thanks Nancy from FL for the recommendation. My library app shows a long wait which is usually a good sign.

    I have made pasta and salads, soft tacos with black beans and I baked brownies. I marinated beef to cook with onions and peppers on rice this evening.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s comments. Be well all!

    1. Kat- We discovered the series New Tricks during the first few months of COVID and were pleased to find that there are several (5?) seasons of it to enjoy! We were also happy to see that there were three additional seasons of Death in Paradise (including a 2021 season) that we hadn’t seen!! If you haven’t seen that before, you might enjoy it!

  11. I re-read “Family Sabbatical” (the family goes to France) by Carol Ryrie Brink, and wished I could also revisit “Family Grandstand” and “The Pink Motel.” I’ve never read her most famous young adult book, “Caddie Woodlawn.”
    As my knees continue to heal following replacement surgeries, I have taken back doing more of the grocery shopping, shopping being something my husband doesn’t really like. I fortunately have time to search out bargains.
    I used a points credit at Walgreens on batteries, combined with a BOGO sale. The clerk said Energizer makes the Walgreens brand batteries. Since we don’t use many at all, and these are supposed to last until 2030 in storage, we should be set for a good number of years. I keep a baggie of almost-dead AA’s to use when my kitchen clock stops. They might not have enough power left for the TV remote control, but one often last several months in the clock. Completely dead batteries go in the little box for hazardous waste recycling in the fall.
    Temperatures are supposed to drop below freezing this week, so I cut some tulips and daffodils for vases in the house. (Not together, though– If I remember right, cut daffodils have a sticky liquid that doesn’t combine with other flowers). Hoping our cherry and apple trees aren’t hurt much, as both are blooming now.
    Temporarily brought inside the pot of green onion tops I had planted, and the rosemary I bought at Walmart when their plants were new. Plants in that outdoor parking lot take such a beating from wind and lack of watering that I buy them only if they seem to be fresh from the nursery. A friend gave me a start of tarragon, not an herb I have ever used before.
    Property tax bill just came. The distribution/charge for our household for the library went up ten percent, to $18.62 for the year! What a bargain that is! I have just one library book at home now that would have cost that if purchased.
    I was told I was representing 4500 people of my demographic when I completed the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, for which I was paid $30. Frightening questions about my use of illegal drugs I have never heard of and painkillers that can be abused; I truly pity anyone who is trapped by those substances.
    Much seems just as usual here– we drink tap water, plan for and eat leftovers, cook at home, get books from the library, and the like. I don’t post my savings very often, yet I read everyone else’s reports very carefully. Thank you for taking the time to write, and to Brandy for hosting!

  12. We began lots of work in the yard and garden this week. I purchased soil for the garden and mulch from a local business and had both delivered to our home as we don’t own a truck or trailer. The soil was tilled into the garden along with several cubic feet of treated manure and a basic fertilizer. We let the mix sit for several days following the tilling and enjoyed watching the birds come to feast on some worms that surfaced. Worms are a good sign for a garden and I loved to hear there song as we worked. We then planted over 30 tomato plants, a variety of peppers, sugar snap peas and some marigolds.
    I filled my pots with petunias, creeping jenny, and wave petunias. The flower beds in our front yard were planted with lantana – which returns every year and the shady bed under the front eave of our home was filled with impatiens. Once the planting was completed the beds were covered in mulch.
    I cooked mostly from our freezer and pantry only buying a large package of chicken thighs and a large pack of pork chops from Sam’s this week. They were $1.77/lb and $1.69/lb respectively – I broke the packages into gallon freezer bags – each bag will give us several meals. Meals included pork chops, green coconut chicken curry with green beans & frozen peppers from the garden, rice, cornbread, chicken noodle soup using the last of some veggies from the freezer and what was left of two random packages of noodles, and a chocolate cake.
    My husband repaired some duct work under the house so that the cool air will be brought into our home rather than flowing into the crawl space. I am hoping that this will result in better electric bills during the summer. We noticed that our water was not staying warm in the shower after about 5 minutes so we contacted our landlord and he sent a plumber to install two new heating elements on our water heater. Why is this frugal you ask…warm showers after hard days of yard work are vital in keeping you upright and returning to the garden to do additional work which saves money.
    I purchased two flats of petunias from the clearance rack at a big box store saving over $60.
    I used $27 in Target Circle savings on the purchase of a bicycle & helmet for our son. I took my son’s outgrown clothing to the consignment store. I chose three like new pairs of shorts and five shirts for him and used the money we earned from consigning to cover the cost. The store did not accept all of the items so I gifted them to a mom shopping in the store with three young boys. I walked out with new items and $12 in my pocket from the sale.
    I used fuel points to save $0.10/gallon on gas when I filled up my tank.
    We turned off lights, combined laundry loads, and reinvented leftovers to avoid food waste. We planted the garden to grow veggies that we enjoy to ensure a harvest that will hopefully be a great blessing.
    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  13. -I looked into the situation at the local food bank with the excess donations of bread and pastries. The food store that sponsors the food bank empties its about-to-expire items into a freezer at the store, and then moves it over to the freezers at the food bank. Food bank clients get to choose from the freezer items there. When the two freezers there are full, someone comes and takes the bread to a local farm to feed to pigs. (Pigs gotta eat too, I guess.)
    -I am glad the bread isn’t wasted, though why they are making and buying so much to keep a big display is beyond me. The woman who runs the food bank has told me I’m welcome to take bread I need, since they have much more than the clients need, so I will probably go over there once a month, mid-month if I can use it. I can’t begin to make a dent in what they have, but there will be a little more being eaten by the humans it was made for, and a few dollars more in my food budget. The food bank is a short walk from the post office, so I can do this when I go there to check my mail. I just need to do that on a Tuesday, which is when the food bank is open, instead of every other Friday, which is when I have been checking the mail.

  14. Nothing much new here. I got my second shot last week so only one more week til fully protected! I had to get some dental work done (yuck) but grateful for insurance. My portion was over $600, so I am very grateful for our savings. We didn’t always have good savings, but being able to pay our portion at the office (I didn’t expect that) without having a panic attack or putting it on credit was a blessing. This is a good reminder about why we are thrifty and what our hard work has brought to us….peace of mind. I’ve been able to stay under budget for food this month, per my plan. I’ve made sure to be well stocked so we have enough to eat if we have to tuck in if covid gets worse here again or if there is unrest (we are in Minneapolis). This is birthday season for our children. Four of our five have birthdays in April and May. Everyone is grown up, so we give a modest amount of cash to put towards something that want to buy. I will send a card from my stash or I’ll make it depending on how I feel that day. We still buy gifts for the grandkids though. They still like reasonably priced gifts and I love being Granny. We did well with our meals last week. We had pasta, homemade pizza, tacos, sloppy joes, and black bean burgers. I’ve made sure we had veggies every day, either salad or frozen. I hope everyone has a great week. Love hearing about your garden, Brandy! Hope it all keeps going well.

  15. There was a free yard sale posted on Craigslist. My youngest daughter and I stopped bye. They had so much stuff. We took a yoga mat, a large blank canvas, a gas can, a Harry Potter book, a knot book, 2 pieces of fabric, a new roll of string, an unopened board game, a dog sign and 2 balls for our dog.
    While I was food shopping for P I always check the clearance sections. They had Annie’s GF mac n cheese boxes for 82¢ each. I bought all 10 for the pantry.
    P wanted to get ice cream one day. I reminded him that it was Wednesday and it was BOGO at Carvel so we went there. I like to save other people money too.
    We ate leftovers 2 nights for dinner. I hate food waste.
    I made GF Blueberry muffins for YD and chocolate walnut brownies for the rest of us. Hubby may have eaten some of the muffins. I used reusable muffin liners.
    My mom is turning 75 this June. My sister’s and I are making 75 things we love about Mom poster. It has been fun going through albums and talking to my sisters about the things we each remember. We are going to frame it for her. I think she will love it.
    I returned 2 carts at Aldi so 50¢ into the change jar. Eggs are still 52¢ a dozen. I got another 4 dozen. I have been hard boiling a dozen a week for easy snacks. We have been eating lots of eggs.
    A friend called and told me the clearance veggie rack was full at a store I shop at. I stopped on my way home from P’s. Peppers were on clearance for $1.59 for 6. I got 1 pack of red, 1 pack of yellow and 1 pack of orange. The next day I made sausage and peppers for dinner. My son cut up all the other peppers and I froze them.
    I cut open a lotion bottle and a toothpaste tube this week.
    Hubby and my son got their second vaccine.
    My oldest daughter had a wedding planned last year. Because of Covid we could not do the reception. We are having it in 2 weeks. I tried the dress on that I had bought over a year ago. It still fits.

    1. Marybeth I made an “80 things I love about you” for my mother a couple years ago. I did it in Canva with red font and red hearts when I needed spacers. Then I saved it as a JPEG and printed it 8×10 at Walgreens, put it in a nice frame, and gave to my mother. My mother loves it still. I’m sure your mother will also treasure this gift.

      And this is just a random birthday suggestion – when my son was turning 21, I organized 21 people to pick a day leading up to his birthday and send him a card. This meant he got one card each day for the 21 days leading up to his birthday. I got the idea from a neighbor who had done this for someone’s 40th birthday!

      1. That is a great idea Libby. I will have to remember that. We made a poster for my Dad a few years ago when he turned 75. He loves it. He hung it up in the hall way. Whenever someone comes over they stop and read it. I’m sure my mom will love it too.

    2. That’s an amazing price for eggs!
      I’ll second the “good job” on still fitting into your dress. I’m not sure that would be me!
      I love the 75 things poster idea for you Mom. Thank you for sharing.

      Lea

      1. The eggs started in the fall at that price. I froze 10 dozen. because I was sure the price would go up. It hasn’t. We love eggs so we have been eating lots of them for that price. Thank you about the dress. My mom doesn’t need anything. She always tells us not to get her anything. But we don’t listen. She does love homemade Gifts. My daughter is going to paint the frame too.

  16. Brandy what a blessing the use of a tractor is for free and how lovely of your friends to do that for you. Happy that your lettuce are coming up well in the pots as well as other plants so they are ready for planting and glad you were able to save delivery money by picking up your pots whilst doing other errands in your local area 🙂 .

    Opportunities to trade –
    – We met a new couple that moved into the area and they are starting up a new garden so we gave them places to get hay for mulch cheaply in our local area. Turns out they have sheep and manure under a shed on their property. They were saying they wanted vegetable seeds and we mentioned we save our own vegetable seeds. We have decided to swap some of our saved vegetable seeds for manure which should save us both some money.

    Finances –
    – Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage saving both time and interest on the loan.
    – Made a new budget to account for price rises in just about everything so we have a more accurate financial view moving forward.
    – Reduced our grocery budget by $50 a month now we have our stockpile in place and hoping with savvy shopping we can reduce it some more now that specials and markdowns have returned however more sparsely than before. We are working on the if we see something at a good price to just buy it and stock up a few more than we have used as we have noticed in many cases the specials are getting further apart and are being reduced by less in most cases. I have also been exploring new supermarkets to shop at as well.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 4 loaves of bread in our bread making machine saving $13.96 over buying them locally.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.

    In the gardens –

    – Planted 1 garden bed with carrots and beetroot seeds and another garden bed with saved broad bean and snow pea seeds.
    – Pruned 2 large star jasmine and a lilac bush with our hedge trimmers.
    – Used all the trimmings to fill in a hole where the soil has eroded on the back boundary of our property.
    – I weeded and cut back the sweet potato vines growing out of the garden bed.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15.

      1. Thank you Cara I just looked it up and you are absolutely right the sweet potato greens are indeed edible and you can also infuse them into an ointment to treat insect bites too 🙂 . I shall be using them as salad greens now.

        Sewingcreations15.

  17. I can’t wait to see more photos/film of your progress in the garden. I viewed your video last week that did a panorama of the backyard and can’t quite visualize the end result. However, I know it will be grand! Frugal accomplishments were slim but I did an inventory of cooked meals/items in the freezer, total of eight meals for two, so I used them up when I had run out of steam. My husband fixed a toilet leak. This year I will need new tires for my car so I started getting estimates in order to set aside funds. I read two articles about food prices going up as well as general increases in the inflation rate so have been thinking how I can work around that (maybe buy more for the pantry now?)

    1. If food prices go up 11%, and you stock up now on sale, I think that’s a better rate of return than many investments, and it doesn’t take a large outlay of cash.

      The man who has done all our concrete is supposed to come this week to start setting up forms. It will be much easier to visualize once the concrete is in. I don’t know when to do a “reveal” though, as much of the garden will be planted with seeds, so it will be quite empty to start! Plus, my husband is going to do a lot of welding to make structures in the garden, and those will take quite some time. Maybe I should reveal different parts at different times? I don’t know. Also, a garden takes time to grow! So I just have no idea what would be the best way to show it all. When I did the white garden, I waited a few months and let things start to grow in. It still looks a lot different now that it did when we first planted it.

      1. Personally I love to see the big picture. You always take stunning photos, and I enjoy the up close and personal, but also love to see the whole thing and progress, so please don’t make us wait! I am doing so much to my backyard in our new build and I know I will gleam ideas.

        1. I am sharing lots of cell phone photos over on IG so do check that out! Link is below.

      2. I seem to recall you had a paper blueprint? Could you post something like that to give us an overall sense of structure?

        1. I did a post on it. We’ve made a few changes since then in the design (slight ones). The concrete guys are going to set up forms soon and once the concrete is in I will share another photo on IG. I think it will be more clear then.

  18. I swapped insurance carriers and bundled homeowners with car insurance which will save about $285.00 a year. Very happy with that, and it even included some added coverage on the car.
    I am also doing better on meals for one. I don’t buy much meat and I don’t need to eat it every day. I did get a lb of 95% ground beef (low fat heart diet) and pork country ribs were BOGO also, so DD picked up 2 packs for me. One rib is enough–I cooked two and had them two nights. The first night with green beans and leftover fruit salad that my sister shared with me. The second night I made the other one into BBQ sauce on chopped up pork which I ate on a roll with corn and more fruit salad. I have been eating more veggies and fruits and tried to skip a few carbs. (I have a sweet tooth so I don’t need carbs if I’m going to have some sort of dessert later.) I have been watching the salt more carefully and the edema in my legs has gone down a fair amount. I am maxed out on water pills (due to kidney disease) so keeping the salt under better control has been helping. Today I made a plate of nachos with ground beef, corn, onions, a small amount of cheddar and plenty of salsa. They were good and there is still ground beef mixture left so I may have more tomorrow. I counted out the chips so I didn’t go over on salt. The fruit salad was shared because my other sister was more than generous with the amount she made for our monthly sister’s get together (at my other sister’s–no restaurants yet, although I am the last one to finish my Covid vaccines this week. In another month we may be able to eat in a restaurant for the first time in a year or more.
    I am trying to buy just the amount of fresh food that I can eat–not always easy, but I’m eating that fruit up!! I do buy some frozen or canned to fill in any gaps I might have. By buying what is on sale and BOGO I keep costs down on fruit. Veggies are harder but I use frozen sometimes on those too. Spinach especially is cheaper frozen if I’m just planning on putting it in pasta or soup anyhow. I’ll wait for fresh to eat sauteed as a veg. It won’t be too much longer.
    With my husband in a facility now, I am trying to save money where I can on necessities. There is no where to go and nothing to spend on other than groceries and other bills. I do occasionally buy my DD a tank of gas because she ends up driving her car quite often with me in it!! She likes to go to the doctor appts with me. No secrets, but I guess she wants to make sure!
    I’m re-organizing my file cabinet and have been shredding a lot of old papers. In need more space and less paper around anyhow! It’s going to take longer than I thought, but it needs doing.

    1. Marcia, if you are watching your salt intake please be be careful when eating out. Restaurant food is full of salt. Dr has me watching my salt so I have been reading online nutrition menus for various places we order from and the amount of sodium used can be extremely high, sometimes more than a person should have in a day.

  19. Last week was kind of a blur now that its over with. DHs surgery was Tuesday. I had been trying to get things done ahead and any shopping before last week. A couple days the week before and Monday he had to work an extra 2 hours which pretty much destroyed my plans. We had to be there at 5:00 A.M. and were advised to park across the street from the ER and go in there. That person must have been new. We got up at 3:00 A.M. and when we got there the ER security had no idea why we were sent there and day surgery did not even open until 6:00. As they were calling to find someone sick people kept coming in and had to walk right by us which was very uncomfortable. I told DH maybe we could find out where and walk around to the other building and wait outside until they opened as I was scared he would catch something. A lady finally came and said she would lead us through the hospital to where we needed to go. She explained how to get back to that parking lot when I left from the other entrance. After we got picture IDs, etc. we were finally led to the room to change and wait for his doctor. His surgery was going to start at 7:00, instead of 6:00. At 6:55 I told DH it wasn’t starting at 7:00 as the three people that were to come before they took him hadn’t arrived. In a couple minutes one came, then the other two and off he went. His doctor came at around 9:45 and let me know things went well and he was in recovery. By the time I followed him to his room and things got settled it was near 12:00 (morning visiting over). DS had been in the car (sleeping some) or walking all this time. He didn’t get a chance to see him (one at a time). He was staying overnight but the doctor didn’t know if or when he would leave the next day. DH got the word he was leaving on Wednesday evening while I was on the way to visit. It was an exhausting two days. Then after I got home I had to go out to get some things he needed. His papers were very vague about the next two weeks before seeing the doctor so I ended up looking things up on Friday to find out. I knew there was no way he could do even light duty soon unless he had some relief. I found exercises from the Mayo Clinic and another place. It is evidently common to not get much instruction after reading part of a blog of men who had this procedure, and it was more obvious they didn’t ask enough questions. DH wasn’t doing the exercises or walking enough times so I sent him the articles (there was a weekly schedule in one), and he is doing them now and starting to feel better.

    I made a list of things for DS to do Friday which helped get some things under control. Part was making a breakfast casserole using some ham. I did make chicken taquitos with spinach and pepper jack cheese (instead of cheddar) and coleslaw over the weekend. It is getting very beautiful outside. I love all the springs colors, especially the fresh light green of trees and grass before it gets hot. And Brandy, I have smiled to myself many times over your Italian neighbor. Some people are so wonderful just being themselves. My guys laughed too.

  20. Today I have made 2 weeks worth of lunches so I’m ready for work! Yesterday I picked most of the parsley, which was going to bolt. I washed it and wrapped it in a tea towel in the fridge. Today I baked a gluten free carrot cake (slipping a couple of soft apples into the batter too) and once it was baked and the oven turned off, I spread the parsley on 2 cookie sheets and dried it in the turned-off oven. I ended up with almost a pint of dried parsley. I also made gluten free sourdough crackers https://pin.it/1VMjVJZ I’m eating lettuce from the garden, as well as kale and the ever-present collards!
    My husband got a free Krispy Kreme donut with his Covid vaccination card.
    I finished sewing a set of 8 cloth napkins that my daughter asked for https://pin.it/FRMgRak
    I mailed them, along with 6 curtain panels, using Pirate Ship. Such a savings in postage.
    Watering using the stored water in the rain barrels, and graywater from the washing machine. Things like lettuce (where the water touches the edible part of the plant) get watered with city water. Fruit trees get the graywater, we are excited about the savings there.
    Our daughter is graduating college next month. The college bookstore only had graduation ‘sets’ listed on their website (cap, gown and tassel) for $45. I called and bought just the cap and tassel over the phone, for only $10. She will wear the same gown that her dad and brother wore. And just like that, our last one is finishing college!

  21. I woke this morning feeling so much better after being sick with pneumonia and sinus infections for 5 weeks. Then I took my antibiotic and struggled with side effects all day. Tomorrow morning is my last pill so I know I am better and am on the upswing. The antibiotic created a histamine in your body as it is killing the bacteria. I am getting Red Man Syndrome. My face turns red, I have hot flashes, am dizzy, headache, tummy upset, and very sleepy with it. I did the most I have done in all this time today in short spurts, getting tired easily. I know after this last dose I will feel much better and can begin walking and doing more.
    * I have not used our Flex account for all the medical bills, but have been charging to get points. I can turn them into the account to be deducted from the tax free account.
    *My husband put down fabric barrier and mulch, and planted bulbs I had bought 2 months ago. I watched.
    * Becky asked for economical meals. Some of ours are:
    1.Scalloped potatoes. I always cut ham and freeze in ziploc bags. So I add ham to mine
    2. Dry lima beans cooked in a pot with chicken broth. My mother in law does just water. It isn’t as flavorful, but more economical. I add Kielbasa type sausage. You can add ham, sausage, or no meat.
    3. Zucchini noodles with anything. Tonight I sautéed onion and mushrooms, added minced garlic, 2 spiral cut zucchini, cream, and leftover grilled chicken. You can add pork or chicken, shrimp, beef, bacon,any vegetable, cheese and make many different flavors.
    4. we used to make a rice meal when really struggling. Boil a whole chicken. Then take meat off and seperate for 3 to 4 meals. Add about a cup or 2 of rice to the stock. A little butter and 1 to 2 cups of chicken. Let it cook the rice. Consistency is like a risotto rather than a soup.
    5. Red beans and rice from dried beans
    6. I made twice baked potatoes when I had teen boys at home and froze them after cooking.. I put two halves in a bag. They just had to microwave to eat.
    7. Frittatas- diced potatoes or spaghetti noodles base then add whatever- leftover meat, any vegetables, eggs, a little milk or cream and bake
    9. Grilled cheese. Sometimes we jazz it up with ham. I began making them with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon last summer, so good!
    10. Chaffles- 1 egg and half a cup of shredded cheese. my mini waffle maker makes 2 with that amount. I eat with sugar free syrup. I have added leftover cooked onion and mushrooms and peppers and crumbled sausage. You can add different things like peanut butter, cinnamon, whatever to make different flavors.
    * I bought frozen zoodles at Sams when the pandemic started. I don’t really like them so they are still there. I am going to make a cauliflower rice dish and add some of the frozen zoodles diced up in a risotto like meal. And I think I will add to some soups. They are frozen in small little blobs. I also just put tomatoes in ziplocs and froze whole when I had too many last summer, so need to start getting them out to add to meals.
    *I went through spices today and combined a few, took out the doubles and put them in a basket, and then put the ones in my cupboard in alphabetical order. If you have not bought the large bottle of dried minced onion it is so wonderful to have. I bought a HUGE container at Sams and have been using it 2 years. I use these to flavor green beans, in soups and dishes that are cooking longer. I will also sprinkle on hamburger meat when I cook it, and on roast.
    * My daughter in law and son are coming in 2 weeks for her college graduation. We cannot attend, but her mom is having a party after. I have nothing that fits, so today I went on a Facebook group where people resell clothes from a boutique I like and know the dresses fit me. It is for Paisley Grace clothing only. I got two dresses, one for $25 and one for $30. Both are new with tags. We are going to start going back to church after I am fully recovered so I need something to wear to church and the graduation party.

  22. Thank you all for sharing!
    Sorry but i ask once more, does anyone have an experience with making soap from lamb/sheep fat? Thanks for those who answered! It has sheeplike smell and i would like to find out advice of what to mix it with to get it allright. Half of oil, maybe! Thank you!

    1. I don’t have ANY experience making soaps so I can’t offer any help there, but I wanted to share that I use a shave soap made from sheep fat, and it is one of my favorites. (Tallow/fat based shave soaps produce an awesome rich lather, imho.) Mitchell’s Wool Fat – it is a widely renowned shave soap that’s been around for ages. It has a very neutral scent – not like sheep, but not perfumey (although it does contain perfume). Be advised though that some people have a skin reaction (mostly irritation or burning) to lanolin.

  23. Sent my husband to the pop up food pantry at a local junior college on Saturday. We used to have these in our local area once a month, but the program was canceled a few years ago. We still have the main food pantry near by, but we don’t qualify for that program at this time. Pop ups do not require registration and are open to everyone. This one was very organized, a drive through where they loaded your car directly. He saw maybe 300+ cars while he was there in the first hour. On a side note, there was also someone handing out Naloxone, asking people to keep it in their car in case they ran across someone overdosing on opioids while they were out. Scary thought. My daughter said a local firefighter told her Naloxone is available for free at that county’s health department.

    We spent Sunday processing a lot of carrots, apples, yogurt and onions for the freezer to use in future meals. My kids have been enjoying the hot dogs and making grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. We made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner last night. This was very welcome because of income taxes being due. We found ourselves cash poor with two weeks left until the next paycheck. Any ideas for what to do with a lot of milk?

    1. Pancakes, crepes, waffles, puffed pancakes, rice pudding, regular pudding (you can cook it from scratch if you aren’t out shopping right now), put some in a vegetable soup to make it into a creamy vegetable soup (if you are getting carrots from the school lunches this is a good way to use them; also check out my Tomato Basil soup recipe and just use milk in it), stick a carton into smoothies (our schools here are also giving out mixed fruit cups which I use in smoothies).

    2. I’m glad you were able to get some food! You can freeze milk if you have the space (just make sure you leave some extra room in the jug so it doesn’t burst when it freezes and expands). Also, homemade yogurt is very easy to make and will keep longer.

  24. Sewed some (hardy) flower seeds directly in the garden last week and planted a little tree and half a dozen bushes. It was snowing yesterday here in Iowa, though, so I came back indoors! Kat: My hubby and I enjoy “New Tricks,” too! We’re almost through all of the seasons and are in search of a replacement. Happy for the reminder about “Caddie Woodlawn”. Loved it and will gift to the grandkids. I sold two end tables on FB Marketplace for $45 and bought two others for $20. Missed purchasing a wrought iron garden bench I loved, but apparently so did many others! Currently working on a gift list, so I can have the time to purchase/make ahead of time — and more thoughtfully. Thanks, everyone, for the lovely inspiration!

  25. I wanted to add that unlike many of you, I am bad at growing from seeds and in our climate it is not worth the trouble for me. A local lady who grows and sells seedlings offered to grow them for me this year. She does so for many. The exciting part for me is that she, i assume, will pass them to me just when it is right time to plant. Ive had trouble deciding it myself in the past!

    1. My husband likes to grow green chile plants, and the seeds are very hard for me to get started, even using a heat mat and paying close attention to them. Pepper plants tend to be very picky! This year, I decided to purchase the plants. I’ll still grow squash, peas, green etc from seed, but not having to start the pepper seeds was a huge relief!

  26. What a score on the turkey purchase!
    Thrifty actions this week: 1) converted 2 gallon buckets ( no longer using) into Grow Buckets, using instructions on county extension website, 2) planted seeds with grandchildren 3) made (instead of bought) white whole wheat pitas for sandwich fillings, and individual pizzas 4) finished reading historical fiction story “The Nature of Fragile Things” by Susan Meissner ( San Francisco Earthquake 1906).

  27. That was great that you were able to borrow a tractor to do the work in your yard. Renting equipment is certainly expensive. I hope you have a good knowledge of operating the tractor, balance is important if you are moving dirt with the bucket. My husband puts a barrel full of water on the back of his tractor when he is moving dirt, stone or snow to offset the weight in the front. I have been working in the garden, planted early vegetables of kale, lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsley and snow peas. My husband gave my boys each a haircut this weekend, and I took a seat and got a trim as well. We don’t think about it being a frugal activity, even though it saves us a lot of time and money, it is just our routine. I am looking forward to getting the rest of the garden planted next month, then there is the watering and weeding, to keep the garden productive so we get good yields.

  28. Upgraded one of the phone’s service to 5g. It’s $10 more a month, but hubby’s apple music is included,(was paying extra for it) and now it’ll include the Disney/Hulu/ESPN bundle(13.99 month) and we get Discovery Plus free for a year(6.99 for the commercial free).

    I made veggie stock with odds and ends I had been saving in the freezer. Ended up with 16 cups.

    Took advantage of some birthday freebies…free food from a local convenient store, and free dessert pizza from Papa John’s. I have a few more things to use.

    My mom sent over two bags of puffcorn(she thought she bought cheddar popcorn)

    Returned a finished library book on time to avoid late fees.

    Spent an afternoon at a track meet for $2.

    Found a stadium seat marked down to $9.99 at Academy. (Saved $8) Well worth the money, saved a lot of pain on my hips.

    Went to Culver’s after a track meet and they took forever with our order. Gave me back half our money, then a coupon for a free combo.

    Enjoyed several days of nice weather and being able to open the house up.

  29. Hello Everyone!
    I love old fashioned roses. Yours is just beautiful, Brandy! 🌹

    I did a garden experiment with my tomatoes this year. One bed has red mulch and another does not. The plants with red mulch are already 2-2.5x larger than the plants without and they are flowering. Our coastal weather has been 50s-60s and it rarely gets warm. So far, I’m happy with the red mulch. The small roll I bought should last for years as the sheets can be reused.

    I moved carrots into a deeper raised bed and they’re growing longer. We’re currently harvesting carrots, celery, chard, kale, and beets. I planted 2 trees (pomegranate and fig) that arrived by mail in recycled pots. I finally found the 2 citrus trees I’ve been wanting at Costco. It’s was an $80 savings over the local nursery for the same size. We’ll make our own gopher baskets out of hardware cloth remnants.

    I’m baking 2 loaves of protein sandwich bread this morning and a batch of muffins. I’m making chili for dinner tonight as it’s chilly outside.

    I took a much needed break from sewing after the huge drapery project! I’m back at it, cutting pieces (using an on hand pattern) for throw pillows using fabric scraps. I ordered some discounted fringe online. My nearest fabric shop is a 30 minute drive! I already have a huge bag of pillow stuffing on hand. I find that stuffing my own pillows, rather than buying a form is not only cheaper, but holds its shape better and longer.

    We sold an old refrigerator that was taking up too much garage space. I gave myself a manicure and eyebrow wax. Those two things saved about $40. In addition, I dried bathroom rugs outside.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 💐

  30. Your photos are so beautiful Brandy – always a high point in my week.
    This morning I was up and out early as I wanted to get in an hour’s walk through High Park before it got too busy. The cherry blossoms are in bloom but with cold temps and snow expected tonight, I wasn’t sure how they would be later in the week. Last year they shut down the park entirely during the bloom but this year you are allowed to walk in – but no cars – the entrances are blocked off and police are patrolling. The different stands of trees are also fenced off so you can’t walk amongst them but you can see them and take photos so it was still worth going. They are also flying drones so you can watch online as well.

    The bad news this week is that my entire province is back under a “stay at home” order and many businesses are once again shut. We will be like this until close to the end of May and I have to admit that this third wave is now getting to me. Tempers are stretched thin and riding the subway is a “challenge” as there is always at least one person who can’t seem to figure out how to wear a mask properly! Seriously! It’s been over a year! I only go into the office a couple of times a month but my nerves are usually shot by the time I get home. I have to go in this Thursday for a couple of hours so I’ll pick up a few odds & ends on the way home and then I think I’m going to lock myself in my apt. for the following 10 days!

    But the good news is that I finally got my first vaccination – no reaction and everyone was wonderful and things were really well organized – I was in and out in no time. The only after effect was some noticeable tiredness for a couple of days but that was a small price to pay. My second appointment is currently at the 4 month range but the hope is we’ll be able to get in sooner.

    I did take the opportunity to do an inventory of my small freezer compartment above my fridge and was astonished to discover that I’ve got approximately 75 servings worth of proteins in there! With the canned items, rice and pasta etc. in my pantry, I could get by for 3 months easily with just a bit of dairy and fruit & veg now and again! I’m going to cut way back on grocery spending for the rest of April and all of May to ensure that nothing goes to waste. The extra money can go towards making those last few extra payments to my small CC – so close now to paying it off! One of the latest items missing from my local No Frills store shelves is cans of baked beans! No Heinz, Bush’s or No Name – and it’s been about 10 days now! There was also no cream cheese! It’s just odd how certain things will just disappear suddenly for no apparent reason. I’m sure it’s probably just a distribution glitch but of course it came at a time when I was down to my last 4 cans and thinking about restocking….

    Last week I received the funds from a small investment that I get once a year. One year I will use it for a major purchase of furniture and/or clothing and the following I will use it for a vacation trip. This year I’m using it to help replenish my emergency fund and to make extra payments on both CC and to do a bit of a restock – mostly non food items. I also have the money put aside for a new pair of glasses – once I can get in to see my optometrist.

    I bought a large container of salad greens so my main meal has included a large salad each day. I have cooked chicken thighs, fish, blood sausage (boudain) and duck meat sliders (I have a very interesting butcher in my neighbourhood) and it’s chilly enough today that I think I will make a pot of mushroom/barley soup! I must admit to also buying more liquor than normal as I have turned my IKEA Roskag cart into a bar cart! I even bought myself cocktail shakers! I’m not much of a drinker aside from a glass of wine but I’ve been watching cocktail videos on Youtube (blame Anthony Tucci) and have decided that I’m going to throw a cocktail party – sometime in the distant future! So once in a while I pop in and buy something a bit “exotic” – last week it was a bottle of Sambucco and today it was a small bottle of Amaretto! I think I just like the look of the cart! Over the next month I’m going to add some mixes and some Bitters – if nothing else it’s keeping me amused.

    Keep well everyone and thank you all for this wonderful community.

  31. I am relieved that I restocked most of my pantry last week because my friend/gardener who shops herself at Superstore
    now is under quarantine as her daughter has covid. Hopefully, it remains a mild case. She herself is negative. Ironically, a couple of weeks ago, I had urged her to get vaccinated but she thought she wasn’t yet eligible. I phoned the drugstore
    and was told that she was eligible (because of a medical condition) and to get her to phone them right away. It turned out that they had 2 unused doses that had to be used right away so she got her vaccine the same day. It is a bit soon for her to have full immunity but I hope it keeps her safe. So from my perspective, she won’t be buying groceries for awhile and I’m glad I just restocked. Also, I was exposed to her on the day she was here finishing the dry stream/bog gardens structure but we both wore masks and it was later that day, she thinks, (and I hope) that her daughter was exposed while tutoring another student. Fingers crossed!

    As to savings, last week I saved about $15 for buying soup on sale and I bought olive oil on sale. I also got packages of frozen spinach, peas and broccoli on sale. I have 4 jugs of ultrahigh filtered milk so I can last quite awhile. I am going to try making my own skyr, which I love. I like skyr as it is so high protein and low calorie. I have a Cuisinart yogourt machine that I bought 3 years ago for half price from a lady who didn’t want it as the family had given up dairy products.

    I have a full box of frozen blueberries in the freezer that I bought on sale. I have lots of dried pasta and jars of sauce. I splurged on a Hutterite chicken at Easter that I put in my freezer. I bought three “chubs” of frozen ground beef on sale so all, in all, I should be able to last awhile without having to buy more groceries.

    I had urged a friend who has MS to stock a pantry in case her volunteer gets covid and cannot pick up groceries for her. She treated me like I was an idiot and haughtily said it wouldn’t come to that. I don’t know why people can’t prepare at least somewhat when we are going rapidly into another phase. She has been very fortunate to have had a church supply (free of charge) dinners for her for more than a year so she hasn’t had to spend nearly her usual amount on groceries. Well, I originally (long before covid) set her up with the volunteer resource organization… even then she thought I was over reacting (as I said her then friend might move away which in fact later happened).

    I have been so fortunate to have three friends who have kept me in groceries as they’ve gone to do their own shopping. I’m not asking anyone to go shopping for me since our covid rates are escalating so quickly.

    I am looking out at the bright blue sky — spring is here even though we might get more snow in a day or two. Even the snow is welcome as we desperately need more moisture. I am having a gratitude day — grateful for the beautiful weather, the friends who have kept me supplied with groceries and generally for their friendship, the post man who on occasion mails my letters for me (rarely but still greatly appreciated), and across Canada the archivists and librarians who have helped us find information for the book even during covid closures. I have written letters of gratitude to my friends for keeping me in groceries.

    I am sharing my surplus flower and vegetable seeds with my friends. And of course, I am grateful for this blog and appreciate the time Brandy puts in it to give us a forum for friendly conversation, inspiration, and beauty.

    1. Glad to hear that you are well stocked Ann and can shelter in place. Infection rates have soared here in Ontario (and especially Toronto) so I am being extra cautious. I did get my first shot last week and I’m now at the 10 days afterwards point so I have about as much immunity now as I’ll have until I get my second shot.
      You got some great deals this past week. I agree with you regarding the friend with MS – how is it that after this past year there are still people who think there is no need to prepare and to plan ahead! It is very frustrating.
      We have woken up to 2 inches of snow this morning and it is still coming down so I am glad that I had a long walk yesterday and can stay indoors today!
      Take care.

      1. Hi Margie from Toronto,

        AB is going the same way as Ontario and rapidly. Very worrisome. I watch the people out walking on the city sidewalk,, — no masks and they don’t keep their distance but pass about 2 inches from each other.

        We are expecting 3 days of flurries and “periods of snow”.
        It was beautiful outside today — it was plus 18 but the temperature is plummeting rapidly. Our gardens desperately new moisture.

        I sat outside for part of the afternoon and attempted my taxes — at least I could prove that I do not owe them anything. Poverty (relative) has its advantages.

        I will probably get tested for covid since I’ve been ill. Take care, Margie. Ann

        P.S. I gave myself my 7th covid haircut. I hope asymmetrical hairdos are in style.

  32. I have not posted in a while. I often feel like I’m just doing the same things over and over, so don’t always take the time to comment, even though I read through the comments. My work schedule has also increased (I’m now going into the office 3 days/week, and working from home 2), we’re back with limited in-person worship, and many other things are amping up, so I’ve been much busier.

    Our weather has been very pleasant, this week in the 60s and low 70s for highs. We have had the windows open at home to save electricity instead of running the air. I prepared my lunches (lentil salad & naan this week) for the 3 days I’m in the office, so I can bring lunch and not spend any extra eating out. Most days I do not have time to leave for lunch anyway, so it works out. Several of my coworkers order pricey lunch deliveries on a daily basis. I try to avoid that trap! I also bring my own coffee or drink it at home, rather than purchasing it out. Shopped at Aldi for necessities and made 25 cents for the coin jar when someone else abandoned their cart in the parking lot. Aldi had spiral cut hams half price, and while ham is not my favorite, it was an excellent bargain, so I bought one for the freezer stock. Picked up a couple nice packages of meat out of the markdown bin at another grocery store – chicken breast filets, pre-seasoned burger patties, and beef tips. Those went directly into the freezer for future meals. Same grocery store also had normally expensive artisan bakery bread on sale $1/loaf, so we enjoyed some crusty sourdough. Cooked almost all meals at home, including pulled pork sandwiches, pizza, shrimp tacos with elote (Mexican street corn), Korean bbq chicken bowls with jasmine rice, salmon filets with rice pilaf and peas, hamburgers, and breaded flounder filets with macaroni and cheese and carrots. Continued to do all of my usual stuff – mani/pedi at home, coloring my own hair as needed. I can’t cut my own hair (and don’t trust my husband to do it other than a light trim – my hair is extremely thick and “difficult”), but since last March I have learned I can go much longer between salon cuts. I used to go every 8 weeks, so that is a moneysaver. I went at the end of March and probably won’t go back for several months. I bought a couple of tops for work at a yard sale.

    I have had both of my Covid vaccines, and my husband has had his first shot. We both had Moderna and very minimal side effects (we are in our mid 40s and good health). Our area virus numbers continue to decline, which is good. Our state dropped the mask mandate a while back and allowed all businesses to open to 100%. but nothing has really changed much as most businesses still require masks and have limited capacity. I’m glad we are vaccinated. I am ready for things to be back to “normal” as I’m sure we all are!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  33. Hi friends! Haven’t posted in ages but I have enjoyed all the posts and encouragement from others.
    Thanks for this blog, Brandy! You are an inspiration to us all. And good luck finishing up your garden project! Wow!
    After 17 years I was able to convince the hubs it was time to replace the carpet on our second floor. We moved some of the furniture ourselves to save about $600 off the original quote. Every bit helps.
    My FIL’s chickens are really laying right now so we have enjoyed many egg-based meals with whatever was left in the fridge to accompany them.
    Electric Bill went down some last month, water bill went up. Oh well.
    Sold some pans from the attic and made enough to cover an expense for this week.
    Cashed in some Pinecone rewards and received a TJMAXX gift card for a birthday gift.
    Signed up daughter for a coop class on personal finance then discovered an online class for considerably less-saved 380!
    Y’all have a great week!!

  34. Frugal is having the money to pay the bills and for repairs even when it wipes out the savings…. I keep repeating to myself.

    We have been saving to pay off loans and mortgage and projects needing finished on the home.

    If the actually bills aren’t higher than the estimates we are only $4000. short…. The 20 ft. concrete basement ramp has fell apart. Safe enough to still use but needs redone NOW not next year. First estimate was $20,000, the second one was a little less. Our Amish neighbor’s brother in law is going to give us an estimate but he won’t be able to until about May as he always finishes a job before he bids on another one. But he did come check to make sure it was safe as the dogs use it for their “dog house” when we are gone.

    I froze 84 spears of asparagus and canned 13 pints of bread and butter pickled asparagus. We have been eating it almost daily. I harvest more today to blanch and freeze tomorrow. A weather front coming through is to drop 2-3 inches of snow and drop temps to 29 degrees with 25 mph winds after the snow. I’m hoping our ground is warm enough for the snow not to stick.

    I checked my paypal acct activity and realized I had four auto pays for things I know longer use. Dealt with that.

    I inventoried what I need to buy at the store to stock up and what I need to can myself as I heard more than one place that groceries were going to go up 10% by the end of the year. If the corn belt gets hit hard with the weather it could be hard to get corn meal. I already got my stock for the year.

    The good news is our 7th great grandchild was born the 19th. Mommy, Daddy and Baby doing fine. Gammy (no R so as my mom was grammy) aka Daughter 4 got to help in the delivery room… the stirrups wouldn’t lift high enough for Mommy to use them so Daddy and Gammy held the legs LOL.

    Blessed Be.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/04/small-changes.html

  35. I am excited for you, Brandy, that you are making such great headway on your garden! I have some cukes , peppers ,tomatoes and zucchini planted. We are e pectins a late frost this week here in NC so will need to cover all of my plants. I am picking lettuce, kale and chard. I have been doing weeding whenever I have a chance and getting boxes from a neighbor and using my mulch for a weed barrier.

    My husband was given a 10 # bag of popcorn by some men he had been leading in a group. We love popcorn, this is organic and will last us the summer.

    Hubby also is saving us a huge chunk on taxes by putting some savings into Roth accounts. That will be used for his hernia surgery that is needed. Thankful we can use the savings for that.

    Thankful for you Brandy, and this wonderful group of folks!

  36. Brandy,
    I am happy that your gardening project is progressing and the end is in sight.
    I have a dental appointment tomorrow and my out of pocket costs will be about
    $1300. So glad I have insurance. I will pay my share with my credit card to earn
    the points and then immediately pay the card in full. This way I can earn a little
    something extra. I am using our stimulus money to pay my share.
    I changed our vehicle insurance which will save us over $300 a year. I would not have thought to
    do either of those things without the help from everyone in this blog community. Every little bit
    helps so thanks to all, especially Brandy for making all this possible each week.

  37. Another great and inspiring week for you Brandy! And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those flower photos. Absolutely gorgeous. I’ve looked at them several times.

    *We have had no problem finding seeds around here. I’m grateful that it has been so easy. I debated about even doing a garden but decided to try out some seeds. I planted tomatoes, celery, cantaloupe and green beans. I also planted carnation seeds and wildflowers. I have a few more things I want to plant – potatoes, onions and carrots. I wanted to get berry beds set up but I don’t think we will be able to this year. I went to a local farmers store and bought the seeds. We have continually put grass and leaves in our garden last year and fertilizer. The soil is really nice in the garden area and everything should do well. I might need to do some hand watering – we’re having water restrictions here. The secondary water is being turned on 2 weeks later (May 1) and shut off 2 weeks earlier in October (Oct 1 instead of the 15th).

    *I have continually been working on decluttering rooms. I took a trunkful to our local thrift store for donation. The donations are wonderful for our taxes.

    *I have been exercising daily by walking/marching. Another great source of exercise is vigorous cleaning.

    *I kept my grocery bills down again last week. I’m using lots of food storage. I saved over 1/2 my bill by shopping sales and two different stores.

    *I read books from the library. Discovered the author J.A. Jance. She has 2 different series and the library carries all of the them. I finished a book from another author I like named Vicki Delany. Our library has been wonderful about getting in books that are new. The library is completely open but is still offering curb side pickup. I don’t use this option because I don’t have little kids, but I love the idea. Our library will bring out a bag of kids books that aren’t ones that the kids picked out. A way to introduce them to new stories and books. You tell them the age of your kids and they have the books already set aside for those doing curbside pickup.

    *Have a wonderful week!

  38. All you ladies are such an inspiration!! DH started some zucchini this week – we can’t plant for about another month, but it will have a head start. Our tomatoes, peppers, and herbs are doing well so far and will be ready to plant at the same time. Our conservation service had trees left over from their annual drive in March – so I am picking up 25 each of plum, apricot, currant and rose on Friday. These are bareroot trees, but can do well as they are specific for our area. It did set me back about $150 – but I didn’t think that was bad for 100 plants.

    1. Wow on the trees! I hope you can get them all established.
      If they live twenty years, that is $7.50 a year, a huge bargain!

  39. I’m so excited to see your finished garden!
    Our savings this week:
    -I made tomato sauce from tomatoes I had in the freezer.
    -We used up allll the leftovers. My husband is great about this. He makes some interesting breakfast/lunch combinations, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He covers almost everything he eats in hot sauce, so maybe that helps? 🙂
    -I’m saving time in the kitchen by using my slow cooker. I’ve been outside a lot, and it’s a huge help to have the main dish simmering away while I’m enjoying being outside.
    -I’m giving the area next to our front porch a makeover with a $0 budget. It’s a long way from finished, but looking better.
    -I made a small raised bed using a castoff display from my stepmom’s work. I’ve planted seeds for spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, etc. I hope to succession plant as the season goes on.
    -I relocated strawberry plants from our bigger garden to the one next to my grandkids’ yard. I hope the plants will produce this year after being moved.
    -We are continuing to declutter. It feels so refreshing to make more space and to neatly organize the things we like and use often. We have a long way to go but every bag that goes into the car to go to the thrift store makes me do a little happy dance!
    Details of our week are on my blog at http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-39/

  40. Hello…Hope everyone had a good week. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments and frugal accomplishments!!! Accepted 6 pounds of dried beans (black, navy & kidney) from a neighbor who had received them from the food pantry and couldn’t use them. I eat beans everyday, so this is quite the blessing. Went to a local national park with three of my friends from high school. It was a beautiful day! We were supposed to go power walking but we ended up chatting for almost four hours. We had not seen each other since before the start of the pandemic. My mom gave me strawberries, lettuce and cheese sticks that she wouldn’t be able to use before they spoiled. I had just run out of strawberries and wasn’t planning on buying anymore until my next shopping day two weeks from now. My mother in law came over and treated us to a take out dinner from one of our local restaurants. My son got invited to a birthday party for his best friend. It will be outdoors at a golf driving range. I went to Target to look for a gift. It was a little shocking the prices of toys. Maybe it’s just because I hadn’t been shopping for that sort of thing in quite a while. Instead of spending $30, I spent $5 on a small lego kit in a poly bag. I used it as a gift topper on a gift I had in my gift closet. We enjoyed dog sitting the service dog from where my husband and mother in law work for four days. We also got a text about dog sitting for a neighbor this coming weekend. We had recently received a letter from our utility provider advising that they were going to start charging higher rates during peak hours. So we started doing laundry in the very early hours of the morning. Also started saving warm up water from dishes and showers to flush toliets and water our garden. I have met my goal of drinking a gallon of water everyday. Tried a different coffee cream. Didn’t like it at all! But decided to power through it as I didn’t want to waste it! After I finish it, I will go back to my old brand. Try and learn! Went through my pantry and made up a bag of surplus items (including several types of rice and dairy products from the fridge) for my mother in law to bring up to my father in law. It seems like he has blood cancer. Not sure what type, but my mother in law should know more in a few days. Never though my husband and I would each have a parent with similar illnesses at the same time. Even still, we are blessed and grateful! My parents gave me the Sunday paper after they were done reading it. I’m continuing to pick a few weeds each time I go out to empty trash and recycling. Got two bags ready to go to the Goodwill. Started a new limited series on Netflix called This is a Robbery. It is about an art museum heist in Boston in 1990 at the Isabella Garnder Stewart Museum. I am enjoying it so much that I ordered two books on it from the Library. I will lend them to my father who will read them first and then give them back to me. We are practicing living on my husband’s salary and on what we are estimating to be my retirement check (when I retire). So far so good. To help us with this, I started using the Every Dollar app. The extra is being put into tax deferred investment accounts. I am very proud of my husband and I. We have been married almost 15 years and arguments about lack of money were a frequent issue. We, finally!, seem to have things under control. Have a great week everyone!

    1. I don’t know if your washing machine has this option, but mine allows me to put in a load at night and have it delay starting until later. I choose to have it start at 2 or 3 am so it will be done when I get up, ad I can put it in the dryer and start another load. That may work for you.

    2. I’m also enjoying that Netflix series about the art gallery robbery. More and more I seem to enjoy documentaries/real life stories. I have Amazon Prime at the moment but find so many of their new series to be VERY violent. I tend to watch more of the older series when they were more about the story than the shocking visuals!

    3. I’m watching This is a Robbery, too! Very interesting. I’ve only gotten through the first 2 episodes so far.

  41. I try to make sure we have a whole-grain bread for meals to bulk up meals and add protein. I grind my own wheat and use it to make rolls and the easy no-knead English muffin bread, tortillas, crackers, etc. I’ve experimented with cutting the amount of yeast in half and letting bread raise for twice as long and it’s worked out okay so far.

  42. My husband had a work trip and the company invited me to come along. We were able to fly out of our small local airport and rent a “manager’s special” car in the town we flew to. All our meals and hotel room were paid for and we brought our own snacks for the plane. It was a lovely 24-hour “vacation” with my husband.
    Our little garden is producing tons of spinach and kale. I snip the kale when the leaves are small and use them raw in salad. They don’t have a bitter taste and I don’t have to throw away the hard middle stem. The rest of the veggies are coming along nicely, peas, tomatoes, beans. I think the carrots were eaten by something. One day we had quite a few sprouts and the next day they were all gone!
    I bathed all three kids at the same time, saving bath water. I use the water left in the cups after meals to water the houseplants and outdoor plants that don’t get watered by the sprinkler.
    Last week our library started in-person programs again (with registration) so we were able to attend the homeschool program. That will be fun for my kids to start up again.
    Now that it’s been 90 days since my husband and I got covid, we can get our vaccination. It’s a little easier now to find a place, so I’m grateful for that.
    I texted my husband before he left work to stop at the grocery store on his route him to pick up milk. It saved me a trip and since the milk was on sale for $2.19, it worked out great!

  43. I’m working on cooking meals at home to save. Also buying food on sale. This week I found a ham for 95 cents a lb. It was a spiral ham and already cooked. So much cheaper than buying sandwich meat in a container. Deli meat is expensive! I also got boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.69 a lb. Usually I buy leg quarters because they are so cheap anywhere form 36 cents to 58 cents a lb. Then I cook the chicken bones to make broth. IF I am not using it right away, I freeze it for later use. I need cut our kale use it. I also need to pull more carrots. I also have some volunteer onions growing. I don’t remember planting them by seed. But maybe I did last year. I know I didn’t pull all of them last fall. I have celery growing on my window sill from the end of a stalk. I think I need to plant it in the ground to keep it going. It snowed in Kansas today. So I am waiting to plant a lot of things. OF course it melted too. My husband bought a couple of grow lights for our tomatoes and peppers and set it up in our house. I’m glad we didn’t lose them. I hope to get a lot of tomatoes and peppers this year and possibly sell them and have some for family. I’ve enjoyed playing the harp and piano this past week. I’ve only just started the harp, but it is fun! I love to learn new things! We work on turning off lights and not making unnecessary purchases. Paying bills on time. I want to save. Not only for a cushion if things happen, but also I think we will need to get a vehicle for my husband. He drives a rather old truck with over 216,000 miles on it. He is actually happy with it for now. But I know that we will need one in the future. We will most likely buy a used 4 by4 truck. I’m glad his truck is working for now. God willing it will last awhile longer. I’d love to get him a new truck. But we don’t want to pay forever on a vehicle. Something with good fuel economy would be nice.
    I’m just glad we have vehicles for now.
    We have been very careful to save where we can, with a few splurges. The harp was a definite splurge, but I will get years of enjoyment from it. I’m glad we have some savings for emergencies and for splurges when we really want to do something. It hasn’t always been easy. Just grateful to God for everything. We have enjoyed sunrises, sunsets, wildlife, birds, deer, coyotes and a fox, music, and spending time with friends and family.

  44. We had a frugal birthday party at a park, enjoying Costco pizza (using the gift card hack, as we’re not members) and homemade cookie cake.
    I went to a school garage sale that sold clothing by the bag for $5. I took two of the $5 bags I stuffed full to the consignment store, where one earned me $26 and the other $29. Not too shabby! I also bought some thank you notes and books at the same garage sale.
    I’ve been filling the garbage cans with leaves and branches, to avoid using a lot of plastic trash bags.
    I’ve been making homemade breadsticks a lot lately. My kids love them, and it really helps to stretch the meals.
    I picked a few berries growing wild. In a few more days, there should be even more.
    I got some free rocks from someone redoing their landscaping, which I am putting around the front flower beds.
    I used a generic magic eraser to clean some scuffs off kid shoes.
    I bought clearance deals and loss leaders at the grocery store. My Kroger has had a lot of meat marked down lately. I feel like the clearance deals have been better since Covid started, since fewer people shop in-store.
    My daughter carpooled with a friend to a girl scout event, so I only had to drop off and not pickup, saving gas.
    The kids and I found some change in the Coinstar machine. We always check, and frequently find something.
    I returned an unneeded item to Walmart.
    Have a nice week, everyone!

  45. This week I found a backpack on clearance for $4, marked down from $20, a metal water bottle for $3, marked down from $8, and an art pack for $4, marked down from $10, all at Target. These items will form part of my daughter’s Christmas gifts. I now have all her gifts 🙂. The art pack comes in a beautifully patterned box which she can keep to store some things in.

    We had banana smoothies several times this week as we were given a large bunch of bananas.

    We ate my lentil, tumeric and vegetable soup three times this week. Just defrosted it from the freezer.

    We were given four ripe avocados, which we enjoyed on toast and as a side to our lemon and herb chicken thigh and slaw dinner.

    We went on a very long bike ride.

    We borrowed books from the library.

    My husband did two overtime shifts.

    My son had his surgery and I took time off work for that and his recovery. He was given a teddy bear, cream and food from the hospital.

    We went camping amongst the kangaroos, which we got to feed and pat. We sat around the fire at night, roasting marshmallows. My children got to pat a koala and saw mamoset monkeys.

    I hope you are all having an enjoyable week.

  46. I posted earlier and it has not shown up, atleast on my end, so I hope I am not reposting. After 5 weeks with pneumonia and sinus infection I have completed 3 rounds of antibiotics, 2 Prednisone packs, and am beginning to feel better. I am still coughing continuously and weak from so much lying around. I am trying to get up and do things in spurts, rest, then go again.
    * I lost all my plant starts while sick. We have a puppy that eats everything I plant out back, so are working towards getting a fenced in area where I can plant. We have so many projects I think I will just get some large pots, fill with filler plastic pots to take up space in the big pots, and plant some things in them. I can somehow place them where I can barricade the dog out. Hopefully by fall my husband can get the fence, which will be 150 ft and terraced beds made.
    *We have a Flex card where we have money for medical bills deducted from our check, and it is tax free money. I have put all my medical bills on our regular credit card that gives us points back. I can then just submit the receipts to the Flex account and they deduct from balance in the account. So, first money is set aside tax free saving tax money, then I get points by putting on the credit card.
    *I have totally depleted my cold medicine stash, and my pantry is bare compared to my normal full pantry. My husband has been amazing to cook, shop, clean the past 5 weeks. My mother in law lives with us, but only cooked about 4 times, but she does vacuum, mop, and clean the kitchen. I am working on a list to restock my pantry and medicines and do a store pick up run.
    * My water bill is going to be high. I have taken a daily soak. I am not even going to feel guilty, it was the only thing that relieved being miserable for a little bit.
    *I watched The Zookeeper’s Wife on Netflix. Based on a true story. I am also enjoying Atlantic Crossing, and Escape to the Chateau.
    * My daughter in law graduates college next weekend, and once I am fully well we want to begin to attend church again. All my dresses are too tight. There is an online boutique, Paisley Grace, that I know their dresses fit me well. There is a Facebook group where people sell just their brand, usually new items that just didn’t work for them. I got 3 dresses, all new. One was $30 and two were $25 each. This will get me by for quite a few weeks and if I can lose weight I will resell and get atleast half my money back.
    * I don’t know if I have mentioned here, but I have let my hair go gray. I am 52, and since I lightened to a light blonde it has grown out without too much wonky head line. I am not fully silver, I still have a lot of brown mixed in. It is so freeing not to worry about the roots, and pay $120 every 6 weeks! I did a collage showing the change a few months back. https://www.instagram.com/p/CJMm_yjHh6Q/?igshid=15ioml46xa504
    Also, my hair is long and I have been only getting a cut every 5 or 6 months, so I am just not spending a lot on my hair now.
    * I made a great dish the other night. I sautéed onion and mushrooms. Then a little minced garlic, and 2 spiral cut zucchini, a tad of butter and olive oil. Let that simmer about 8 minutes. Then I added cream and leftover grilled chicken and let that simmer about 8 minutes. You can add any meat or vegetable, and even some cheese.
    * My husband planted some bulbs in our front bed and put in iris plants that were given to us. I have more dahlia bulbs I hope to put out back. I have a huge bag of zinnia seed to plant also.
    * meals this week have been: omelets for supper, hamburger salad, zoodle dish with chicken, grilled chicken with Conecuh seasoning, BBQ grilled chicken, pasta e fagioli with potatoes instead of the pasta.

    1. I like your natural hair color; it makes your eyes pop. My face is framed in white. People ask me how they do that. I tell them they cannot get it the way I did. They look confused and ask why. I inherited it from my father. His hair turned that way when I was very young. Eventually it turned all white after he retired. Mine started as a few strands in my 40’s and so far has shown no evidence of going all white. It’s medium brown with some lighter spots that were blond when I was very young.

    2. BH, a lot has been accomplished at your house while you’ve been sick! Don’t feel guilty about those baths, either. I usually take TWO a day because they are the fastest way to get my sore back moving and the fastest way to relieve the pain so I can go to sleep. (I have arthritis all through my back and adult scoliosis, which needs fixing, but….)

      I started going back to church 6 weeks ago (at a new church) and I am producing church-worthy outfits with a couple of new tops paired with pants (would work equally well with skirts and jumpers). I didn’t realize the new tops looked good with so many things–that was just luck–or that they went with so many accessories (luck again). In 6 weeks I haven’t repeated and I’ve still got another pair of pants that will work with one of the tops! I think I can keep this going for at least 8 weeks and then it is time to start repeating. BTW, we got our second Covid shots 2/15 and I feel perfectly safe in a large church gathering. They practice social distancing by closing off every other row, but most of us (the vaccinated or recovering ones) do not wear masks. Masks are not required in our state, but the pastor has encouraged us to “practice grace” as we get through this new period. (I am not adamant either way…I willingly wear a mask in some instances and I would never quarrel with anyone that asked me to put one on).

  47. Hello, frugal friends. Our weather this time of the year in the mountains is always up and down. A few days ago it was in the mid 70’s. Yesterday with the wind chill it was barely 38, but felt much colder. I covered all my plants due to frost warning last night and tonight. Our one surviving blueberry bush has a ton of buds. I am doing my best to keep it safe in order to get some berries this year. We have had both strawberry and blueberry plants for 10 years and have only gotten 2 strawberries and one blueberry in all those years. The deer and other critters get them before I can pick them. I bought netting through Joann Fabrics, using a 60% off and free shipping coupon to cover the blueberry bush once the blossoms start to make berries. It is my hope to get at least 2 berries off the bush this year…hopefully a lot more.
    In other frugal endeavors:
    I trimmed my hair.
    Earned $3 reward for next week’s grocery purchase at the local Food Lion.
    I ordered some Shutterfly wall foto squares when they offered free shipping and $8/square. I will use these as gifts for my adult children.
    I got my second COVID shot . I felt fine the first 7 hours but about 2a.m. I broke out with a 102.5 fever for 24 hours plus a headache. I just l spent the day on the couch but have been fine since.
    I scanned receipts for Fetch rewards.
    In the garden the rainbow carrots have sprouted along with lettuce, kale, chard, green onion, and spinach. My grandchildren will be so excited as they planted the carrots. The seeds came from the extension service for free. I replanted peas…again…for the third time. Of the original 25 seeds I planted, 5 survived whatever critter ate the sprouts. The second planting gave me another 7 plants. I am hoping this LAST planting will give me enough plants to feed us a few meals. My asparagus is coming up and we have several heads of lettuce and green onions which overwintered. I wanted to share a tip for planting tiny seeds with little children which I learned through Virginia Ag in the Classroom. If you lay cheap toilet paper down where the seeds will go then the seeds can be sprinkled onto the toilet paper. If the seeds end up all bunched up it is easy to spread them out. The toilet paper will dissolve when watered. I actually use this method myself . For those who teach or homeschool, the va.agclassroom.org website has some great free resources for lessons tying agriculture to curriculum. There are worksheets, stem activities, book lists, etc. All free. Another good resource is the Utah Ag in the Classroom website. Happy frugaling!

  48. As a photographer, I always love your photos, especially the ones of flowers. Gorgeous!

    We’re in an odd situation right now in that my husband lost his job in December, and we’re about to move to an area ~6 hours away after living near family for the past decade. There are more job opportunities in the new area for my husband’s profession, and we’ve been wanting to move away from the area we’re in for a long time. We’ve been praying about it, and felt the call to make a leap of faith. Even though there is a lot to get done in order to move, we’re mainly just excited.

    In addition to the normal ways we are frugal (reading library books, cutting my husband’s hair, eating many basic or meatless meals, etc), we’ve been trying to reduce moving costs and make the move as smooth as possible.

    One way we’re doing this is that I’m being very intentional about what we buy for food over the next month. I’m working on a small rotating menu to keep ingredients minimal. My aim is to do less grocery shopping while we’re busy packing, and to reduce the amount of cold items left on moving day. So we’re using up a lot of freezer and fridge items now. Hopefully we’ll only have leftover just what we can bring in a cooler on ice. Instead I’m working on stockpiling dry ingredients that can be moved and made into easy meals, since we likely won’t be grocery shopping immediately upon arrival.

    My goal is to avoid the urge to get takeout or fast food because we’re tired and overwhelmed with boxes. We’ve managed to not do anything except home cooked meals since before covid, and I’d like to keep it that way for a while longer. I’m bringing a cooler with some prepped meals and sandwiches to eat on the drive and moving. I’m also packing a plastic bin with some basic cookware, our electric tea kettle, and some basic meal ingredients, and some paper plates I found on sale, so we can make a meal even when we aren’t unpacked.

    Another way I’m prepping is by taking serious inventory of our possessions and furniture. I’m purging and giving away items we don’t need or could replace easily and cheaply. We decided to take only basic furniture or well-loved furniture with us, so we can drive a smaller moving truck. Most of the other items can be replaced fairly cheaply and easily from a thrift store or an IKEA. Most of them we don’t really need right away, so we don’t have to rush into replacing.

    The other ways we’re prepping to make our move as frugal include:

    – Calling around to price moving trucks and negotiate prices.
    – Planning to pack and move everything ourselves.
    – Reusing boxes and bins we already own and saved from past moves. This has been helpful on the budget, but also a blessing during a pandemic.
    – Doing research on the area we’re moving to (we’ve visited many times over the years, but I appreciate the local groups with their tips), so we are more familiar with local frugal tips.
    – Stocking up on audiobooks (online) from our library for the drive/move, and information on the new local library so we can sign up for a new card as soon as we arrive.
    – Doing what we can to (hopefully) get our two vaccine doses before we move, now that we’re eligible. This will make it less likely we get sick moving (even though we plan to do it all ourselves and wear masks), which will save future medical costs.

    I hope the move goes smoothly. It’s been a long time since we’ve moved a long distance. Doing it in a pandemic will be a whole new level of difficult. If anyone else has helpful tips for moving long(ish) distance, please let me know! 🙂

    1. Jess PNW,
      We moved quite frequently in our Navy days. One thing I learned to help with the anxiety of seeing a million boxes upon arrival is to have all boxes placed in one room or the garage. Then I could have the furniture placed giving the new house a feeling of being “ready.” I would put a bright colored sticker on boxes I knew I would need immediately such as cookware, sheets, pillows,etc. so that I could focus on unpacking those asap. Oh, and I would have my kids pack a single box of toys they could play with when we got there. That box had a special sticker or mark on it making it easier to find in the chaos. Putting all the boxes in one place initially upon arrival made for a much more calm move. Hope this helps.

  49. Frugal success yesterday was when my husbands stimulus cheque arrived in the mail. We also received a lawyers cheque for payments that are slowly trickling in from a loan we made a few years ago to a relative. Our 21 year old daughter had friends help her move this week into a new apartment so it seems that after 4 years of uni we are out of the apt moving business -and we don’t mind a bit. Also saved us the 1,000 km drive each way-and right now her province is saying they will fine visitors for non essential travel. Glad we skipped all that.

  50. Marley, it’s so late in the week that I don’t know whether you will see this, but I wanted to expand on your nylon netting. I used it to cover my strawberries and keep a certain West Highland white terrier from harvesting them. I stuck canning jars in the corners of the bed and draped the netting over the jars to keep it up off the ground. My raised bed was 48 inches wide and the netting 72 inches wide and I was at first upset that I couldn’t cut it lengthwise and use the other half for something else. However, I discovered that having to deal with the full width was also discouraging to the dog…when he would stick his nose in it, he would get wrapped up in the excess net and immediately give up. So, my advice is not to be too neat with it…those deer can’t be any smarter or more determined than a Westie!

    (For those of you who only know that Westies are incredibly cute (think Cesar commercials), you should also know that while they look like foo-foo lap dogs, they are not. They are REAL dogs and they will never let you forget it. They are definitely terriers! )

    But, I digress (as I so often do!). Thank you for the toilet paper trick, which I’m going to try. I will have no problem finding cheap toilet paper because it is all that I use!

    1. Maxine,
      Thanks for the tip. I will definitely use it. We have owned 2 Cairnes and a Westie so I know exactly what you are saying! At our other house I would catch our Westie in the strawberries and holler for her to get out. She would stop eating long enough to look up at me with an innocent face, but she would have all the red juice on her mouth looking like lipstick. It was hilarious. Now we have a yorkie-Jack Russell mix. She is the smartest dog we have ever had. She had us trained in two days of getting her:)

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